Using only the freshest ingredients, the 2012 Perth International Arts Festival serves up a feast of culture for arts lovers of all ages and persuasions, spilling across the unique venues and spaces of one of the most beautiful cities in Australia.
The Perth International Arts Festival is Australia’s original and oldest international arts festival, with a worldwide reputation for excellence. In 2012, we celebrate our 60th Festival with an invigorating new vision from incoming Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway. Holloway comes to Perth from the UK, where he was Artistic Director of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, overseeing audience increases from 35,000 to 330,000, turnover increase of 600%, and tripling ticket sales.
On Wednesday, 2 November Holloway announces the first program in his four-year term as Artistic Director. On any given day from 10 February – 5 March audiences can see expect to see up to 17 events, with more than 1000 Western Australian performers joining hundreds more from around the world in more than 1100 performances. Of his inaugural Perth program, Holloway said: “For many years I’ve admired the big Australian festivals which have inspired the world, and the chance to direct one is fantastic. Many of the artists I’ve admired for years have said ‘yes’ to the invitation to perform in Perth. This has made me aware of the sheer joy of directing a festival in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”
The 2012 Festival kicks off with Dawn:Dusk, the most stirring and quintessentially West Australian opening ever. As light glimmers off the ocean at Cottesloe Beach, Indigenous Elders and performers greet audiences and artists from around the world with a Welcome to Country. Hundreds of local vocalists and musicians awaken the dawn with a joyous celebration of the people, natural wonder and artistic life of WA.
The Festival brings magic, illusion and whimsy to the streets of Perth with the Australian premiere of Place des Anges from Les Studios de Cirque (France), a once-in-a-lifetime event that sees angels glide, float and careen through the air, leaving a burst of feathers in their wake before landing on St Georges Terrace in a breathtaking display that must be seen to be believed.
The 2012 theatre program traverses the spectrum from the intimate to the spectacular with a diverse selection of performances from Australia and across the globe, pushing the boundaries of theatre in all directions. From France, James Thiérrée’s La Compagnie du Hanneton combines humour, incredible physical feats and spectacular visuals in Raoul, a production of startling illusion that is operatic in scale; while in an Australian exclusive, legendary director Peter Brook turns his hand to Mozart’s comedic and adventurous A Magic Flute, in a grand culmination of his four decades at the helm of the famed Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord (France). UK Company Propeller does Shakespeare with swagger and surprise, guts and gusto, in two exemplary productions, Henry V and The Winter’s Tale; and The National Theatre of Scotland returns to Perth with a knock-out production from the explosive world of boxing, Beautiful Burnout. At the intimate end of the spectrum, the Festival presents the Australian exclusive premiere of Oraculos, from legendary Barcelona company Teatre de los Sentidos, where one audience member at a time is led through a labyrinth of sound, smell, taste, touch and feel, a journey of perception from childhood to the present and onwards into the future, providing startling glimpses of possibility.
For children and families, Barking Gecko (Australia) bring to life Perth’s very own Academy Award winning Shaun Tan’s acclaimed book The Red Tree, drawing kids and adults alike into a vibrant world of bold imagery and live music. Atishoo (UK) uses amazing puppetry, live performance, music and loads of paper, in the elusive search for the cure to the common cold.
The dance program presents an Australian exclusive, as choreographer Lucinda Childs (USA) revisits her rarely seen signature piece from 1979, when three creative titans, Childs, composer Philip Glass, and visual artist Sol LeWitt, mixed movement, music and film in a way that would change the world of dance forever. Brazil’s GrupoCorpo bring two strikingly visual and spirited performances Onqotô and Parabelo, combining the grace and technique of ballet with the raw vitality of swaying limbs, sexy swagger and pulsating rhythms.
Perth will rock throughout the Festival to an eclectic selection of sounds from some of the most idiosyncratic performers from around the globe. Bon Iver enjoyed Perth so much on his last visit he penned a song called ‘Perth’ which features on his latest, self-titled album. His tender, beautiful and moving music at one of the country’s newest and most spectacular outdoor concert venues will provide a perfect end to this year’s festival. Seasick Steve (USA) brings his supernatural mojo-infused Trance Wonder (a three-string guitar) and Mississippi Beat Box (a wooden crate) for the rawest blues experience; Staff Benda Bilili’s life-affirming music from the streets of Kinshasa combines Congolese rumba blended with 70s funk, Cuban son and mambo; Brooklyn musical maverick Jeremiah Lockwood’s eclectic supergroup Sway Machinery (USA) create a sound you aren’t going to hear anywhere else; and turntablist extraordinaire Cut Chemist brings his envelope-pushing live show to the Festival Garden for cut ‘n’ scratch audio-visual blowout.
The 2012 Visual Arts program welcomes two celebrated Korean artists: Choi Jeong Hwa will bring his exuberant and poignant vision to Perth with two temporary sculptures, one on the Perth foreshore and one in the grounds of UWA, along with an immersive exhibition in Gallery Central all commissioned especially for the Festival; while in his first solo exhibition in Australia U-Ram Choe presents his extraordinary kinetic sculptures, charting a path between art, science and cybernetics, inviting the audience to imagine the evolution of life forms into the future through his commanding art.
The Perth Writers Festival is the hub of Festival discussion and discourse. Save the third weekend in March (23-26 Mar) to join readers and writers in this much loved celebration of the written word. The Writers precinct at the University of WA includes extended café facilities, areas for picnicking, a Festival bookshop and exhibition spaces. Just a handful of this year’s stars include: Chetan Bhagat (the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history and one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’), Kate Grenville, Dave Graney, Tom Keneally, Barbara Trapido, Janette Turner Hospital, Frank Moorhouse, Alice Pung, and Kim Scott. Check the Perth Festival website for more authors in December. The full program of Perth Writers Festival events will be announced on 18 January, 2012.
To get you in the festival mood, the Lotterywest Festival Films kick off from 28 November, with a handpicked selection of the best of World and Australian cinema. Highlights include the Australian premiere of Beloved, a very French musical following Madeleine and Vera, played by real-life mother and daughter Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni, which closed the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In Retrospect: 60 Years of Festival Films will look back over the 6 decades of the festival and screen a stand-out festival film from each decade every night for a week, starting with a 1950’s gem. In a festival twist, the audience will help curate the program: from 3 November a shortlist of the screening contenders will be posted at perthfestival.com.au, so tell us which films you think deserve to be re-screened during this special week.
v 4 World premieres: Elektra, Driving Into Walls, White Divers of Broome, How Like an Angel,
v 23 Australian premieres: Raoul, A Magic Flute, Oraculos, Place des Anges, Home Sweet Home, Henry V & The Winter’s Tale, Atishoo!, Dance, Grupo Corpo, Ennio Morricone, Faustian Pact, Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio, Little Roy, Sound of Rum, Sway Machinery, Staff Benda Bilili, The 14th Tale, Beloved, The Source, Late Bloomers, Romantics Anonymous, Headhunters
v 1 commission: Choi Jeong Hwa
v 1 co-commission: Elektra
v 1 First Exhibition in Australia: U-Ram Choe
v Fine Music events : 10
v Dance events : 3 – From USA, Brazil & Australia
v Theatre events : 10 – From Spain, UK, Germany, Scotland, France & Australia
v Writers : Over 100 authors presenting at Perth Writers Festival events.
v Visual Arts Exhibitions : 7
v 23 bands, over 22 nights at Festival Gardens
v 27 LotteryWest Festival Films screening at two open-air cinemas over 20 weeks